Pancake Day 2018: Recipes from Around the WorldPosted on: 13/02/2018
For many of us, Pancake Day is a day filled with feasting, with the date firmly marked in our calendars – this year, it falls on 13th February. However, although we probably are all familiar with pancakes, not all of us might be familiar how one of the most delicious days of the year came into existence.
Pancake Day is also known as Shrove Tuesday, with its origins rooted in the Christian tradition of Lent. Always falling 47 days before Easter Sunday, Christians would attend confession and be ‘shriven’ (forgiven) of their sins, before embarking on a period of ritual fasting for Lent on Ash Wednesday. Shrove Tuesday would be the last opportunity to eat the rich, fatty foods which are usually given up for Lent, thus making the humble pancake the perfect vessel for using up the indulgent ingredients of eggs, butter and milk. Nowadays, those participating in Lent are more likely to give up other vices, such as chocolate or sweets, but the custom of scoffing pancakes on Shrove Tuesday remains – thank goodness!
Pancakes themselves are a tradition as old as time and are strong contenders for the title of ‘Mankind’s Oldest Prepared Food’, found in cookbooks dating as far back 1439. This means that virtually every cuisine around the world has their own version of a ‘pancake’, ranging across both the sweet and savoury spectrum. Hence, there’s a pancake out there to suit every meal of the day – breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Take a look at some of the different variations we’ve found across the globe.
England, Crepes: Probably the most universally well-known on this list, this is the traditional pancake to make on Pancake Day in Britain. Large, circular and paper-thin, the ultimate classic topping is lemon and sugar, although we can personally recommend jam or chocolate spread as yummy alternatives!
USA, Buttermilk: Introducing the crepe’s fluffier cousin, the American Pancake. Milk is replaced with buttermilk to yield a more viscous batter, with baking power added to produce a towering stack of pancakes which always rise to the occasion. Common toppings include sticky maple syrup, a sliver of butter and blueberries.
Thailand, Roti: These Asian-style pancakes begin life as doughy balls enriched with lots of oil, before being expertly stretched across a piping hot griddle and cooked to tender perfection. Roti are paired with sweet condensed milk and sugar, or banana and chocolate to create an authentic Thai pancake experience.
Denmark, Aebleskiver: these bite-sized pancakes puffs are a Danish staple, especially around Christmas time. Uniquely spherical, they could be considered a cross between a pancake and a doughnut – solid all the way through, yet still light and fluffy. Most often, they’re simply dusted with icing sugar for a sweet snack.
Netherlands, Dutch Baby: Aesthetically, the Dutch Baby looks like the Yorkshire Pudding’s distant (and much larger) relative, although its seasonings of vanilla, nutmeg, sugar and cinnamon put it firmly in the ‘desserts’ category. It’s baked in the oven, causing it to puff up then collapse in the centre when removed, giving it crispy edges and a tender, custard-like centre.
India, Dosa: A South Asian offering, this is crepe-like pancake made is made from a rice and lentil batter, left to ferment for at least overnight. Shinier and crisper than a crepe, dosa can be served plain but are often paired with fillings such as spiced potatoes or cooked vegetables.
Japan, Okonomiyaki: Made from nagaimo, a root vegetable commonly found in Japan, okonomiyaki translates into ‘what-you-want-grilled’ meaning that the world is your oyster when it comes to fillings, literally! From seafood to pork, these pancakes are very versatile and are always finished with a drizzle of Japanese mayonnaise, nori flakes and pickled ginger.
Sweden, Raggmunk: Forming part of the latke family, these crispy potato-based pancakes are often the side dish in a Swedish main meal, and are traditionally served with lingonberry jam for a delicious savoury-and-sweet flavour experience.
Venezuela, Cachapas: Unique on our list (as they’re not made from flour), cachapas are made from corn and cornmeal, and hail from the South Americas. Although cachapa is the Spanish word for ‘crumpet’, they’re a decidedly savoury snack and are almost always paired with a soft mild cheese for maximum melty yumminess.
Italy, Farinata: This savoury Italian pancake straddles the fine line between pancake and flatbread and is made from chickpea flour, olive oil and water mixed together, baked in a pan. Farinatas are also popular in other Mediterranean countries such as southern France and North Africa.